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Buck Woodward Previews Victory Road

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This Sunday, TNA will present their first three-hour Pay-per-view event, Victory Road.  After almost two and a half years of weekly PPV events, the group is changing their business model, relying on a one-hour Friday afternoon slot on Fox Sports Net to spread the word about their monthly shows.  They have also moved locations from the Nashville Fairgrounds to Universal Studios in Orlando, resulting in a much glitzier look to the product with special effects and better production. TNA has also switched to a six-sided ring, becoming the first U.S. promotion to abandon the traditional "squared circle".  


However, most wrestling fans could care less whether the show they are watching is emanating from Nashville or Orlando.  They don't care about laser beams and smoke during entrances.  Fans want a quality wrestling product.  They want to feel that they got their money's worth (in this case $30 for three hours) when they order a show.  To that end, I thought it would be interesting to look at what TNA has on tap for this Sunday's Pay-per-view, and give some thoughts and opinions on the lineup and the potential it has.  Remember, this is just one wrestling fan's take on what TNA has announced for Victory Road. 


NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett, with Scott Hall, vs. Jeff Hardy, with Kevin Nash, in a Ladder match

The final TNA weekly Pay-per-view was headlined by Jeff Jarrett vs. Jeff Hardy, and to be blunt, I thought the match was terrible. Not because it followed the usual Jeff Jarrett title match formula (overbooked, tons of time consuming brawling outside, interference), as Jarrett actually had his working boots on for that match.  Nope, the match tanked because Jeff Hardy looked like he would rather have been anywhere else in the world but in the ring.  Other than a pair of highspots, Hardy showed no effort in the ring, and came off like a "WWE star on an indy show".  I really expected TNA to strap a rocket on Monty Brown and put him in this match, but apparently the company is saving that for another show. So, this match will instead be a ladder match, and the Outsiders have been thrown into the mix, for no real reason.  This match just screams to be overbooked, and I'm sure it will be.  I expect tons of interference, and most likely a screwjob ending.  I hope TNA strongly considers NOT having this match close the show, although I think it is obvious that it will. I also have a bad feeling Kevin Nash will climb the ladder and grab the belt himself. 


NWA World Tag Team Champions Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young, with Scott D'Amore) vs. 3 Live Kru (BG James & Konnan, with Ron Killings) 

I like the fact that TNA put the tag straps on Team Canada, as it gives this match added meaning, and the AMW vs. Triple X match doesn't need the gold to make the bout important.  At the same time, you have arguably the best heel faction in the group (Scott D'Amore has done a great job getting his men booed) against the most popular act (at least to the Orlando crowd) on the roster.  The live crowd will probably be into this match at the start, so I strongly suggest TNA keep the match short.  Don't kill what will be a hot crowd by going long with this bout. If this match goes ten minutes, I could see the crowd sitting on their hands. 


X-Division Champion Petey Williams, with Scott D'Amore, vs. AJ Styles

Mike Johnson has been stating that this match should close the PPV, due to the potential it has to steal the show, and the fact that AJ Styles has become the true "star" of the company.  It's hard to disagree with that, since this match certainly has the potential to be the best of the night, especially if it is given plenty of time to develop. Since it seems almostcertain that Styles will win, it will also be a great way to end the show, with a big babyface title change. If it isn't going to be in the closing slot (which I think will go to Jarrett vs. Hardy), I hope TNA wisely places this match far away from the other potential show-stealer, AMW vs. Triple X.  By spacing out the hot matches, they will allow the crowd to catch it's breath before wowing them again.  TNA should stay away from the overbooking here.  Keep Team Canada away, perhaps by having 3 Live Kru take them out in advance.  Don't overdo it with D'Amore here.  Let the match just be two high flyers exchanging moves and building to a finish. 


America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) vs. Triple X (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper) in a "Last Team Standing" match

This would actually be my pick to close the show, despite there being no championships involved, simply because I think it will be the best match on the card.  While America's Most Wanted aren't the darling of Orlando the way they were in Nashville, this feud has produced the best matches in the company over the past year.  I would just let them do their thing, and give them plenty of time to do it in.  Except for possibly the Gauntlet, this should be the longest match of the night.  Also, leave the Naturals out of it.  I'm sure there will be a movement to "get them on the show" by having them involved here, but in truth, Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas just aren't on the same level as these two teams, and shouldn't take any of the spotlight away from them.  This should also be the climax of the feud, as it is long past time to begin a Christopher Daniels singles push, and Elix Skipper should be integrated back into the X Division. Obviously, I see AMW going over to finish the rivalry. 


Raven vs. Monty Brown vs. Abyss in a "Monster's Ball" match. 

Apparently, this will be a no-DQ hardcore brawl, with Abyss teasing the use of thumbtacks on the final edition of Impact this week. Either this is going to be a really entertaining brawl, or a big cluster than bombs.  I don't see there being any real middle ground here.  Raven knows how to put together this kind of matches (he had quite a few entertaining 3-way hardcore matches in WWF), so he will no doubt lead, and it will be up to Abyss and Brown tofollow.  This should be the most violent match on the show, although I don't know how violent they can get on Universal Studios property, especially if they use park goers to fill up the seats. If blood and weapons need to be reigned in, that could hurt the match greatly. I fully expect Brown to get the big push here, as he is an obvious choice to enter the World Title picture. It will be interesting to see who ends up doing the job, and where that leave them following Victory Road.


Mascarita Sagrada vs. Piratita Morgan.

With all due respect, I'm not quite sure what TNA is hoping to do with this match.  I could be wrong, but I don't think there is a huge Lucha Mini audience out there willing to pay $30 for one match. Mascarita Sagrada is a fantastic worker, but I just don't see the crowd caring about this match.  The best bet is to keep it short, let them do some of their more amazing spots, and then move on. I just hope this doesn't turn into another ridiculous segment where a wrestler runs in and beats up the minis.


20-Man X-Division Gauntlet with: Alex Shelly, Amazing Red, Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian, Hector Garza, Jason Cross, Jerrelle Clark, LA Park, Matt Sydal, Michael Shane, Mikey Batts, Nosawa, Shark Boy, Sonjay Dutt, Spanky, and five other competitors to be named.

My gut reaction to this match is that it should be cut down to fifteen, maybe even ten, wrestlers.  Bigger isn't always better, and a match like this can easily become a highspot cluster when you try to cram too many workers into it. Besides, if five of the competitors aren't even worth announcing in advance, doesn't that pretty much tell you they are filler? I highly doubt TNA has five huge surprises for this match.  There's no need for filler on a Pay-per-view.  Let the ones fans actually care about have some time (and space) to do their thing.  Don't waste the talent by having them just "enter, do a spot, exit".  Frankie Kazarian is going to be number one, so he is the potential "Ironman" for the bout, and Chris Sabin, who has to be seen as a favorite, is number 20. The company could make a new star with a win here, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them strap a rocket on Hector Garza now that he is back.  I hope they also give the final two participants, who will then go into a normal match, at least five minutes once the Royal Rumble portion of the Gauntlet is over. Lot's of talent here, I hope some of it gets a chance to shine.  


Trinity's Open Challenge

Trinity wants competition, and this week on Impact, Vince Russo claims he has an opponent for her.  The opponent will decide whether or not this match is any good.  Trinity has some ability, and a few good spots, but will need an opponent that can lead her around the ring. I suppose they could be brining in Madusa or some veteran to work with her, unless of course, they are going down the "man vs. woman" path. Another segment that is probably best kept short.


Roddy Piper will host "In The Pit With Piper" with a mystery guest.

I love the Hot Rod, but I fear this segment.  For starters, Piper has shown a tendency to go off on tangents and not pay attention to his allotted time as it runs out. TNA can't afford to have Piper go long and force them to cut time off of a match.  They need to have contingency plans for what to do if Piper starts rambling or goes over his scheduled time.  Then, we have his guest, the always dangerous "mystery guest".  Will it actually be someone interesting, or will it bomb?  Jonny Fairplay?  Lex Luger?  Diamond Dallas Page?  To be honest, I have no idea who they are bringing on as Piper's guest, and I haven't really been digging to find out.  In the end, it doesn't really matter, since this is just an interview segment, and while Piper will get a pop, I doubt many fans are forking out $30 for an interview segment. Again, this is something that is best booked to be short and sweet.


The fans will be allowed to vote on whether Vince Russo or Dusty Rhodes should be the Director Of Authority.

This needs to be kept to two segments, at the very most.  Even if TNA had this idea months ago, all it does is come off like a bad copy of Taboo Tuesday.  As a fan, I certainly don't need to be reminded of this debacle constantly over the course of three hours.  Let Russo and Dusty plead their cases after the first match, and towards the end of the show, give us the results, and then do whatever angle is planned out.  The focus needs to be on the action and the new generation of stars, not a legend arguing with a writer.



Leave Mike Tenay and Don West alone. Do not have wrestlers, managers, Russo, etc. joining them at the announce table during the show.  In fact, move the announcers away from ringside so the temptation is not even there.  The only addition I would make to the announce team is to have Larry Zbyszko join them for a three-man team.  He and Tenay work well together, and I can see West's "everything is incredible" act getting old over the course of three hours, so Zbyszko could bring a different, analytical, perspective to things.  ... For interviews, Scott Hudson and Shane Douglas are fine, and I see no need to mess with what works there.


Missing In Action

The fact that Ron Killings is not booked for a match on this show is a crime.  He is one of the best talents they have, he is over with the crowd, and he is someone they can claim as "their own" (since WWE never did anything with him).  I would expect him to be involved in the 3 Live Kru vs. Team Canada match, but I am hoping they have other plans for him at Victory Road as well.  He's too good not to use. ... Kid Kash could be inserted into the X Division Gauntlet, and if the company isn't getting rid of him, they should use him. ... I assume Jerry Lynn's shoulder injury is keeping him out of the Gauntlet, although I wonder if they would use him in the ring even if he was healthy. ... It will be interesting to see if TNA throws another match onto the show with Dallas, Erik Watts, Sonny Siaki, Johnny Swinger, Glen Gilberti, Pat Kenney, The Naturals, or any of the other regulars that don't have a role on the show at this point.



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Guest Donners

My only thought is that people who purport to write in some sort of professional capacity should learn the difference between "could care less" and "couldn't care less".

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